Access to higher education can be understood as the extent to which students from a variety of demographic backgrounds are able to seriously consider and ultimately attend college. It is similar to college choice; however, college choice refers to individual students' decision-making processes around attending college. Access speaks more generally to the ease with which specific groups of students can gain entry to college.

Access to higher education holds great importance for several reasons. College access was identified as a national priority by President Barack Obama. The American Graduation Initiative establishes a specific goal in relation to college access—by 2020, the United States will have the highest proportion of students graduating from college in the world. Additionally, enrolling in postsecondary institutions is linked to positive personal ...

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